Recently, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker that the Bush Administration had authorized the Pentagon to send commando forces to the Middle East with a special focus on Iran in order to carry out reconnaissance missions on potential military targets. Hersh alleged the Bush Administration had chosen this route to carry out these activities rather than the CIA for the purposes of shielding the operation and to stop it from being brought before Congress. The Pentagon has since stated that the story is full of inaccuracies but has not elaborated on the specifics.
If Hersh’s probing is correct, and many believe that it is, many now see the early propaganda campaign beginning for what could turn out to be strategic military strikes carried out by US forces. Iran has been on the American radar since Bush’s Axis of Evil speech in 2002. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been severed since 1979 when 444 American were held hostage in Iran.
The issue of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons has reached the UN Security Council several times while the European Union and some its member states are currently attempting to avoid an altercation. The International Atomic Energy Agency is also monitoring Iran’s compliance with international agreements. Germany, France and Britain have negotiated an agreement which would have Iran voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment for economic incentives and other aid related to power generation. American concerns are centered around twenty disputed centrifuges and the terms of their usage.
With the Bush Administration’s penchant for unilateralism, there will no doubt be an escalation of tensions between the US and Iran over the next eighteen months.
During the lead up to the US Presidential election in 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made public comments related to possible Israeli involvement in pre-emptive strikes on Iranian targets similar to the ones which Israel made against Iraq in the early eighties to thwart their development of nuclear weapons.
Is the US ready to engage in another war? Will there be a draft? How will the Iraqi situation bear on the US’s willingness to begin an altercation in Iran? Is it inevitable? Are there Republicans within the Senate, the House of Representatives and those within Bush’s inner circle that can thwart such aggressive, unilateral behavior?
These are very basic questions that will need to be answered in the coming months.